To 3 or Not to 3…That is the Question

I wrote this piece on whether or not to have a 3rd child almost two years ago.  Over the last two years, I have continued to waver, but lately — as I am now just months away from the big 4-0 — I am particularly baby crazy.  Unfortunately, my husband is thoroughly enjoying the comfortable place we now are with our soon to be 5 and 7 year old boys, and really does not want to “go back under the bus.”  For me, the biggest reason not do it is the financial implications, but really, is that a good enough reason to not have a child?  Do me a favor, will ya?  Read this, share it and post comments.  Folks who have been through this, how did you make this decision?  


I leave my home these days sans stroller, walking hand-in-hand with my two little boys.  I no longer send monthly payments to 1-800-Diapers.  I am done with sippy cups, and baby wipes, and wiping tushies (well, almost anyway).  My husband and I have officially conquered the infant/baby/toddler years, and made it through to the other side, and we’ve got two awesome little creatures to show for it.  Ah, the light at the end of the infant/baby/toddler tunnel.  Now we can finally enjoy a family meal at a restaurant, read the newspaper on a flight while our boys immerse themselves in a DVD, start worrying about homework instead of sleep training.  Isn’t it thrilling?  Here’s the kicker — here we are at the end of the infant/baby/toddler finish line, and I kinda want to start the race all over again.

I know.  I know.  I am nuts.  I have two beautiful boys.  I am almost 40.  I absolutely did not enjoy being pregnant, nor what it did to my body.  I have started my own businesses (my so-called “3rd baby”) and having a real baby would force me to quash (albeit, temporarily) my business plans.  We are most assuredly not in a financial position to have a 3rd child.  The list of reasons why not to do it goes on and on.  And yet, I see a baby bump, and I feel envious.  I hold a baby, and I feel like crying.  I like the idea of 3.  Always have.  And I can’t seem to shake this feeling that there’s someone missing from our little family.

To be sure, its not a “I want a girl” feeling, though you know that if I were ever crazy enough to do this, we would first try to attempt to make a girl (yes, apparently there are “methods”), and yes, if I saw another penis on that sonogram (after two, I know exactly what to look for), there would definitely be a momentary feeling of the loss of ever putting tights on a little body, or brushing someone’s long hair into two beautiful braids.  But in the end, I would be happy as a mother of 3 boys.  Really, at this age and after two healthy children, all I would hope for would be another healthy baby — pink or blue.

Of course, there are two of us who need to be ready to embark on this journey.  When one partner leans heavily either in favor or against having another child, the decision is made more easily.  But my husband, like me, is similarly on the fence, and though most of the time, he is decidedly more positioned in camp “I don’t want to experience sleepless nights again,” (funny, I thought the baby was suckling on my boobs, not his), every once in a while, he will mention a “#3” or suggest that I not get rid of all our baby stuff, leaving me feeling that he too would embrace having a 3rd child.

Friends and family haven’t clarified the issue either.  My mother and mother in law — who one might expect to be thrilled at the prospect of another grandchild — repeatedly caution me against it and tell me to simply appreciate the two that I have.  (These are two very smart women who know just how much onus would fall on them if I were to get pregnant with a 3rd).  Others tell me I’ll regret not having a 3rd and that just by virtue of my thinking about it, I should just do it.  That yes, there are always reasons not to, but that it will all work out in the end, and of course, no one ever looks back after a child is born and regrets having that child.

One family member who is seemingly not at all on the fence is our eldest son, my 5 year old.  He tells me all the time that he wants a baby sister (“yes, mommy, a brother would be ok too”).  Recent announcements have included:

Mom, you’re getting old, so you need to have the baby soon.

Can mommy and daddy please do that ‘special kiss’ tonight (almost two years ago, when he surprised me with the question of how babies get in moms’ bellies, I came up with that one on the fly) so that 9 months from now we’ll have the baby?  9m is a long time to wait.

and the best one yet…

mommy, I know that Grandma and Grammy don’t want you to have another baby because they think they’ll have to do so much more work, but don’t worry mommy, I’ll be 6 and I will help you.  I will help to take care of you and the baby.  I promise.

Yes yes, I fully comprehend that it not my 5 year old son’s decision whether or not we have a 3rd child, but come on, he’s pretty convincing, if you ask me.

For now, I will have to continue to waver.  One thing is for sure – the door is not open for long, so a decision will have to be made sometime soon.  You and I both know that I secretly hope that I am reading this 3 years from now, looking down on a very cute (and hopefully braided) little person, thinking how on earth did I almost not have you?





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5 Responses to To 3 or Not to 3…That is the Question

  1. Cassie April 30, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    Hi Chana! Love the new blog! I’m almost 40, too and definitely want one more in addition to my 15 month old boy…someday. But I know if it’s going to happen I’m going to have to put my body through everything all over again pretty soon! Thanks for sharing.

  2. natalie May 1, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

    I love my 3, but 2 is good!! Plus, sweet babies and loving boys turn into hormonal, moody, smelly and hairy boy men…

    I highly recommend a dog – they crate, they sleep and the unconditional love is amazing!!

    Mazels on the site, and we will always be on team chana – no matter how many kids you have!!

  3. Robin September 16, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    I was just like you, on the fence about a third. Our two girls were three and five and times were getting easier. But I felt in my heart someone was missing from our family. Deep in my heart I felt I really wanted a third but was scared of “starting over” and being pregnant again. I had nausea throughout both pregnancies and I’m 36 so I had a lot stacked against me. I prayed about it. A friend said it best: “you’ll never regret having another baby but you will regret NOT having one. As I write this I am happily nursing my 8 week old son. I’m so glad he is here. Best of luck to you in growing your family.

  4. Nalini September 16, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    I feel like this is a glimpse into my own mind. Just hit 40…. Definitely do not want to be pregnant again, but I can’t shake the idea of number 3. I have 2 boys and like you would not have a 3rd for a girl. When my boys ( 2 and 4) are sweet and cute I feel ready to take that plunge….and then they start fighting, screaming and throwing tantrums, and I think a dog sounds much better.

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